Scientifically, nothing should exist

I hadn’t realized that science, despite all of the claims that it has all the answers, remains stuck at a very basic conundrum:

Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are reporting that they have discovered a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

In a mathematically perfect universe, we would be less than dead; we would never have existed. According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of lethal energy, leaving a big fat goose egg with which to make to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.

Sifting data from collisions of protons and antiprotons at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which until last winter was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the team, known as the DZero collaboration, found that the fireballs produced pairs of the particles known as muons, which are sort of fat electrons, slightly more often than they produced pairs of anti-muons. So the miniature universe inside the accelerator went from being neutral to being about 1 percent more matter than antimatter.

“This result may provide an important input for explaining the matter dominance in our universe,” Guennadi Borissov, a co-leader of the study from Lancaster University, in England, said in a talk Friday at Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill. Over the weekend, word spread quickly among physicists. Maria Spiropulu of CERN and the California Institute of Technology called the results “very impressive and inexplicable.”

via From Fermilab, a New Clue to Explain Human Existence? – NYTimes.com.

So it isn’t just that science can’t explain the fine-tuning that makes life on earth possible.  Nor is it that science can’t explain why anything exists.  According to its own theories, nothing CAN exist.

The particle accelerators are making progress, I suppose, finding that matter beats out anti-matter 1% of the time.  But even that means that the standard theory of physics is incorrect.  And a better theory and better evidence still leaves a long ways to go to account for ordinary existence, its structures and its forms, much less life, and much less human life.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Manxman

    Colossians 1:16-17 states an ever better theory – “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”.

  • Manxman

    Colossians 1:16-17 states an ever better theory – “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”.

  • WebMonk

    Dr. Veith, no offense, but you have GOT to stop getting your scientific “facts” from newspapers.

    That whole article was more than a bit sensationalized, got a number of things completely wrong, and ignored (or just didn’t know about) a metric ton of relevant information which pretty well turns the reporter’s theme of “science is stumped!” upside down.

    Ignorant morons who don’t even try to learn!!!
    (not talking about you Dr. Veith – the “science” reporters. Gah!)

  • WebMonk

    Dr. Veith, no offense, but you have GOT to stop getting your scientific “facts” from newspapers.

    That whole article was more than a bit sensationalized, got a number of things completely wrong, and ignored (or just didn’t know about) a metric ton of relevant information which pretty well turns the reporter’s theme of “science is stumped!” upside down.

    Ignorant morons who don’t even try to learn!!!
    (not talking about you Dr. Veith – the “science” reporters. Gah!)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I must agree with WebMonk. I know you’re busy Dr. Veith, but don’t expect science reporters to even have a clue. They are kinda like religion reporters, 9 of 10 times they completely miss the mark. Check out the actual journal articles.

    When I read articles in the paper I usually try and dig up the peer review article that resulted from the data that made the news. It is far better to go straight to the source. Usually you can get through all the fluff, for example the whole hullabaloo about neanderthal man is based off of research conducted using an inferred ancestor gene. They actually have no idea what our relation to H. neandertals is, despite claims to the contrary. Their lab work was spectacular but their conclusions stink. To put it in perspective they have done the scientific equivalent of the Q hypothesis.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I must agree with WebMonk. I know you’re busy Dr. Veith, but don’t expect science reporters to even have a clue. They are kinda like religion reporters, 9 of 10 times they completely miss the mark. Check out the actual journal articles.

    When I read articles in the paper I usually try and dig up the peer review article that resulted from the data that made the news. It is far better to go straight to the source. Usually you can get through all the fluff, for example the whole hullabaloo about neanderthal man is based off of research conducted using an inferred ancestor gene. They actually have no idea what our relation to H. neandertals is, despite claims to the contrary. Their lab work was spectacular but their conclusions stink. To put it in perspective they have done the scientific equivalent of the Q hypothesis.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well perhaps Webmonk and DL21 can go get us the facts that are misrepresented here.
    In the meantime I’m sure Veith has more important things to do. Here he is commenting on “the facts” as they are being presented to the tiny portion of the population that reads a news paper anymore, even more so the tinier section that turns to the science section of the News Paper. I think this is helpful, in that these are the views that we as Christians by and large are going to be confronted with when we happen to talk about such matters with someone in our community.
    And I think he makes a good point.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well perhaps Webmonk and DL21 can go get us the facts that are misrepresented here.
    In the meantime I’m sure Veith has more important things to do. Here he is commenting on “the facts” as they are being presented to the tiny portion of the population that reads a news paper anymore, even more so the tinier section that turns to the science section of the News Paper. I think this is helpful, in that these are the views that we as Christians by and large are going to be confronted with when we happen to talk about such matters with someone in our community.
    And I think he makes a good point.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I took a look at the article the FermiLab has submitted for review, but I must admit I will need to run it by my wife as she is better at higher level math than I. My strength run towards genetics/biology as that is what I did my undergrad and grad work in.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I took a look at the article the FermiLab has submitted for review, but I must admit I will need to run it by my wife as she is better at higher level math than I. My strength run towards genetics/biology as that is what I did my undergrad and grad work in.

  • Ryan

    Could someone suggest some sources where I can get good Scientific news in laymen’s terms so I don’t have to rely on the much maligned Science reporters.

  • Ryan

    Could someone suggest some sources where I can get good Scientific news in laymen’s terms so I don’t have to rely on the much maligned Science reporters.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    My suggestion is the Journals Science and Nature they not only run cutting edge research papers but they also have pretty reasonable articles explaining the science. Science offers a free online subscription that give you access to their archived volumes and to some current material.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    My suggestion is the Journals Science and Nature they not only run cutting edge research papers but they also have pretty reasonable articles explaining the science. Science offers a free online subscription that give you access to their archived volumes and to some current material.

  • WebMonk

    Don’t misunderstand me Bror, what Dr. Veith does here is post lots of news items and his own social commentary on various things, and I agree that it’s an impossibility to research each and every news article before posting it here.

    If he were making the connection that you made Bror – commenting on how Christians may want to interact with people who swallow the codswallop in this article – that would be really cool.

    It sounded like he actually believed the article was accurate, though, and that’s what I was warning him against.

    The actual state of affairs in this area is far less shaky than this reporter writes (and what scientists who speak to reporters get reported as saying). This is an ongoing area of research as to exactly why the imbalance occurs. Some parts of the puzzle have been solved quite nicely, and there are parts that scientists have some good ideas about, but haven’t confirmed them. And there are some obscure areas where scientists have ideas as to why, but that’s about it – experimental confirmation as to which ideas in those areas are correct and which aren’t isn’t possible yet.

    In order to sell more papers, reporters almost invariably like to make it sound like this “problem” is completely in the “we-don’t-know-why-it-is-and-we-can’t-even-begin-to-guess” sort of category. It makes for more exciting reading.

    As to explaining what all the facts really are in this area, give me a couple hundred pages and a year or two to get all the up-to-date facts, and I’ll write it down for you. The issue involves supersymmetries and the differing properties of symmetric pairs in the Standard Model. Just because something has a symmetric partner doesn’t mean that the partners are equally easily made. Differing energy levels are required to create the particles, and the particles don’t necessarily have the same decay rates. A big part of the problem is that we haven’t yet figured out the laws of gravity in extremely small distances – quantum gravity -why the Weak Force about 10^32 times stronger than gravity over subatomic distances.

    If you keep asking “why” often enough about any question (such as why electrons are negatively charged and why positrons are positively charged) and continue asking down far enough into the really obscure details of subatomic physics, then sure, there are lots of things that we don’t know yet and we don’t know the answer as to why that property is the way it is.

    But, to take a particular (very deep in the obscurities of subatomic physics) puzzle that scientists are working on, have some pretty good ideas about, and are working on experimental confirmation/elimination on those ideas, and then suggest that scientists have no clue as to the entire existence of the universe is stuff and nonsense of the highest order.

    Grrrr, it’s a pet peeve of mine about science reporters. In their defense, the typical science reporter is a reporter who happened to take an extra chemistry class or two during college, and eventually wound up in the science section part time. They are then under pressure from editors to write about subjects they barely know, and then make it understandable to laymen, and then (perhaps most importantly) make the article something that will grab everyone’s attention and make them go OMG! and buy more papers or generate more website visits.

    Life is one of those complicated things, and while I rant about science reporters, it’s not really their fault, at least not completely. It’s the editors/owners/readers/culture which all contribute to having 99.99% of all science articles in general publications be comprised of, at best, half truths, misstatements, and incorrect generalities.

    And … I’ll get off my soapbox.

  • WebMonk

    Don’t misunderstand me Bror, what Dr. Veith does here is post lots of news items and his own social commentary on various things, and I agree that it’s an impossibility to research each and every news article before posting it here.

    If he were making the connection that you made Bror – commenting on how Christians may want to interact with people who swallow the codswallop in this article – that would be really cool.

    It sounded like he actually believed the article was accurate, though, and that’s what I was warning him against.

    The actual state of affairs in this area is far less shaky than this reporter writes (and what scientists who speak to reporters get reported as saying). This is an ongoing area of research as to exactly why the imbalance occurs. Some parts of the puzzle have been solved quite nicely, and there are parts that scientists have some good ideas about, but haven’t confirmed them. And there are some obscure areas where scientists have ideas as to why, but that’s about it – experimental confirmation as to which ideas in those areas are correct and which aren’t isn’t possible yet.

    In order to sell more papers, reporters almost invariably like to make it sound like this “problem” is completely in the “we-don’t-know-why-it-is-and-we-can’t-even-begin-to-guess” sort of category. It makes for more exciting reading.

    As to explaining what all the facts really are in this area, give me a couple hundred pages and a year or two to get all the up-to-date facts, and I’ll write it down for you. The issue involves supersymmetries and the differing properties of symmetric pairs in the Standard Model. Just because something has a symmetric partner doesn’t mean that the partners are equally easily made. Differing energy levels are required to create the particles, and the particles don’t necessarily have the same decay rates. A big part of the problem is that we haven’t yet figured out the laws of gravity in extremely small distances – quantum gravity -why the Weak Force about 10^32 times stronger than gravity over subatomic distances.

    If you keep asking “why” often enough about any question (such as why electrons are negatively charged and why positrons are positively charged) and continue asking down far enough into the really obscure details of subatomic physics, then sure, there are lots of things that we don’t know yet and we don’t know the answer as to why that property is the way it is.

    But, to take a particular (very deep in the obscurities of subatomic physics) puzzle that scientists are working on, have some pretty good ideas about, and are working on experimental confirmation/elimination on those ideas, and then suggest that scientists have no clue as to the entire existence of the universe is stuff and nonsense of the highest order.

    Grrrr, it’s a pet peeve of mine about science reporters. In their defense, the typical science reporter is a reporter who happened to take an extra chemistry class or two during college, and eventually wound up in the science section part time. They are then under pressure from editors to write about subjects they barely know, and then make it understandable to laymen, and then (perhaps most importantly) make the article something that will grab everyone’s attention and make them go OMG! and buy more papers or generate more website visits.

    Life is one of those complicated things, and while I rant about science reporters, it’s not really their fault, at least not completely. It’s the editors/owners/readers/culture which all contribute to having 99.99% of all science articles in general publications be comprised of, at best, half truths, misstatements, and incorrect generalities.

    And … I’ll get off my soapbox.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    So webmonk,
    What I am getting here from your long post is this.
    You don’t think the reporter is right, but don’t really know that he is wrong. Based on inductive reasoning and what other reporters do, and your faith that the science has to have better answers than that, you believe the reporter to be wrong. And despite the absence of facts you have presented believe that Veith and I too should believe that the reporter is wrong and the science is “far less shaky” or “better than that.” Yet, I approaching this with my inductive reasoning and the history of science am not sure I have any reason to believe that the science is better than that.
    However, I do know this. Most reading this article will not question the article, or the science. And that will be the majority of people who I deal with. Veith isn’t claiming to be a scientist, he does commentary on news as it is reported. That is what this site is about. That is the whole of this site. Nothing about this site says “here we investigate the science behind the news.” Everything about this site says here the news is commented on, particularly from a Christian point of view.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    So webmonk,
    What I am getting here from your long post is this.
    You don’t think the reporter is right, but don’t really know that he is wrong. Based on inductive reasoning and what other reporters do, and your faith that the science has to have better answers than that, you believe the reporter to be wrong. And despite the absence of facts you have presented believe that Veith and I too should believe that the reporter is wrong and the science is “far less shaky” or “better than that.” Yet, I approaching this with my inductive reasoning and the history of science am not sure I have any reason to believe that the science is better than that.
    However, I do know this. Most reading this article will not question the article, or the science. And that will be the majority of people who I deal with. Veith isn’t claiming to be a scientist, he does commentary on news as it is reported. That is what this site is about. That is the whole of this site. Nothing about this site says “here we investigate the science behind the news.” Everything about this site says here the news is commented on, particularly from a Christian point of view.

  • Joe

    I would un-recommend both Science and Nature as both of them claim to publish cutting edge papers and in an effort to do so publish junk science quite often.

  • Joe

    I would un-recommend both Science and Nature as both of them claim to publish cutting edge papers and in an effort to do so publish junk science quite often.

  • DonS

    Given that Peter Leavitt was apparently serious about vacating this blog, I am glad that Webmonk has taken up the cause in post #8 regarding the excellent word “codswallop”. :-)

    As to the subject at hand, Webmonk, as usual, has an impressive grasp of this field of origins science, and his point is well taken. Any one of us who have ever read a science reporter’s explanation of environmental science or global warming theory knows how little actual scientific comprehension these reporters have.

    Of course, though, the problem with the field of origins science is that it deliberately excludes any consideration of the actual Creator and the realm of the supernatural in the creation process. This often makes the whole field an exercise in futility and frustration.

  • DonS

    Given that Peter Leavitt was apparently serious about vacating this blog, I am glad that Webmonk has taken up the cause in post #8 regarding the excellent word “codswallop”. :-)

    As to the subject at hand, Webmonk, as usual, has an impressive grasp of this field of origins science, and his point is well taken. Any one of us who have ever read a science reporter’s explanation of environmental science or global warming theory knows how little actual scientific comprehension these reporters have.

    Of course, though, the problem with the field of origins science is that it deliberately excludes any consideration of the actual Creator and the realm of the supernatural in the creation process. This often makes the whole field an exercise in futility and frustration.

  • MikeD

    From the article: “And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.” I really don’t read much about science in newspapers and certainly not much in scientific journals, but that’s fair seeing that scientists and reporters rarely seem to have read anyhting about the philosophy of science. You can never observe a the answer to a “why?” A “why” seeks an explanation (doctrine), or purpose, of an observed event, i.e. propositions informing us as to the significance of so-called observed phenomena. Propositions are invisible, brute facts don’t exist, and events are meaningless unless explained by their author, or Author if you prefer. They’re really just like a bunch of kids playing with expensive toys making up supposed explanations that seem to fit all the observed data and the most proof they have of any given theory is that sometimes it predicts the next event with some degree of success. This, of course, is the fallacy of asserting the consequent and therefore formally invalid. I suppose they don’t care about that too much seeing that logic is also not made of muons… but at least it helps us from becoming morons. Science works, sometimes, and that’s about as good as it gets when it comes to truth claims for them.

  • MikeD

    From the article: “And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.” I really don’t read much about science in newspapers and certainly not much in scientific journals, but that’s fair seeing that scientists and reporters rarely seem to have read anyhting about the philosophy of science. You can never observe a the answer to a “why?” A “why” seeks an explanation (doctrine), or purpose, of an observed event, i.e. propositions informing us as to the significance of so-called observed phenomena. Propositions are invisible, brute facts don’t exist, and events are meaningless unless explained by their author, or Author if you prefer. They’re really just like a bunch of kids playing with expensive toys making up supposed explanations that seem to fit all the observed data and the most proof they have of any given theory is that sometimes it predicts the next event with some degree of success. This, of course, is the fallacy of asserting the consequent and therefore formally invalid. I suppose they don’t care about that too much seeing that logic is also not made of muons… but at least it helps us from becoming morons. Science works, sometimes, and that’s about as good as it gets when it comes to truth claims for them.

  • sg

    10 of 10 scientists agree with WebMonk and Dr. L. 21, most science reporting is sensationalized misrepresentation.

    By definition, the Creator of the universe is outside the realm of science because science is limited to the study of nature itself and does not extend to speculation on the supernatural.

  • sg

    10 of 10 scientists agree with WebMonk and Dr. L. 21, most science reporting is sensationalized misrepresentation.

    By definition, the Creator of the universe is outside the realm of science because science is limited to the study of nature itself and does not extend to speculation on the supernatural.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @#10 Joe, with that kind of statement you need some proof. To be honest, your statement comes off as a pathetic attempt to discount something you don’t like, rather than as a person who actually understands the nature of a peer-reviewed journal. Do they publish somethings that are later dis proven or revised? Of course, but that is the nature of all scientific journals and part of the reason for their existence is for other people to be able see what they did and then be able to verify the results independently.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @#10 Joe, with that kind of statement you need some proof. To be honest, your statement comes off as a pathetic attempt to discount something you don’t like, rather than as a person who actually understands the nature of a peer-reviewed journal. Do they publish somethings that are later dis proven or revised? Of course, but that is the nature of all scientific journals and part of the reason for their existence is for other people to be able see what they did and then be able to verify the results independently.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    However, I do know this. Most reading this article will not question the article, or the science. And that will be the majority of people who I deal with. Veith isn’t claiming to be a scientist, he does commentary on news as it is reported.

    Sadly, you are right people will read the newspaper science articles or watch news segments and think they are accurate. However, that does not absolve commentators from not doing additional research before commenting on the article. Anybody who wishes to comment about anything and do it right, absolutely must do their utmost to be properly informed lest they unwittingly disseminate false information. This is doubly true for us who hold to a Christian world view and claim to respect the truth.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    However, I do know this. Most reading this article will not question the article, or the science. And that will be the majority of people who I deal with. Veith isn’t claiming to be a scientist, he does commentary on news as it is reported.

    Sadly, you are right people will read the newspaper science articles or watch news segments and think they are accurate. However, that does not absolve commentators from not doing additional research before commenting on the article. Anybody who wishes to comment about anything and do it right, absolutely must do their utmost to be properly informed lest they unwittingly disseminate false information. This is doubly true for us who hold to a Christian world view and claim to respect the truth.

  • nqb

    MikeD, the “why” being asked by physicists is not asking “for what purpose or intent” but instead “by what mechanism.” I don’t think the issue is a philosophical misunderstanding. If anything the reporter (and scientists) are guilty of sloppy language. For example: “Why does an apple fall?” The desired answer is “because gravity causes two masses to attract each other.” (Whereas, the true answer to the “why” you are referring to may be something like “because attraction between masses is necessary to maintain the universe as God intended.”)

    DonS, I do not agree that deliberately excluding God from “origins science” is a fundamental problem. (Though deliberately excluding God from our lives is terrible.) Appealing to Divine intervention in issues such as the matter-antimatter imbalance is to succumb to a “God of the gaps” theology. As Bonhoeffer pointed out, a God of the gaps will necessarily shrink as knowledge expands.

    And of course, God is the true origin of all, but I have come to believe more and more strongly that He has buried his supernatural work beneath beautifully complex physical processes that we will never completely unravel. After all, we are not supposed to find God through our own endeavors: He seeks us.

  • nqb

    MikeD, the “why” being asked by physicists is not asking “for what purpose or intent” but instead “by what mechanism.” I don’t think the issue is a philosophical misunderstanding. If anything the reporter (and scientists) are guilty of sloppy language. For example: “Why does an apple fall?” The desired answer is “because gravity causes two masses to attract each other.” (Whereas, the true answer to the “why” you are referring to may be something like “because attraction between masses is necessary to maintain the universe as God intended.”)

    DonS, I do not agree that deliberately excluding God from “origins science” is a fundamental problem. (Though deliberately excluding God from our lives is terrible.) Appealing to Divine intervention in issues such as the matter-antimatter imbalance is to succumb to a “God of the gaps” theology. As Bonhoeffer pointed out, a God of the gaps will necessarily shrink as knowledge expands.

    And of course, God is the true origin of all, but I have come to believe more and more strongly that He has buried his supernatural work beneath beautifully complex physical processes that we will never completely unravel. After all, we are not supposed to find God through our own endeavors: He seeks us.

  • Joe

    DR.L21 – You are right. My statement probably is over broad and too aggressive. I don’t have a pile of examples sitting at my finger tips. I have experience dealing with both journals that I can’t really get into. (I am a lawyer and my firm represents many biotech companies and life science research facilities, both public and private).

    I do the nature of a peer reviewed journals. Perhaps, I more fair thing to say is that when you stake out your position as presenting the most cutting edge research papers you will end up publishing more things that are later dis-proven.

  • Joe

    DR.L21 – You are right. My statement probably is over broad and too aggressive. I don’t have a pile of examples sitting at my finger tips. I have experience dealing with both journals that I can’t really get into. (I am a lawyer and my firm represents many biotech companies and life science research facilities, both public and private).

    I do the nature of a peer reviewed journals. Perhaps, I more fair thing to say is that when you stake out your position as presenting the most cutting edge research papers you will end up publishing more things that are later dis-proven.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I do the nature of a peer reviewed journals. Perhaps, I more fair thing to say is that when you stake out your position as presenting the most cutting edge research papers you will end up publishing more things that are later dis-proven.

    That is, of course, the danger of all peer-reviewed journals. However, the benefit of said journals is that they do have articles at a level the well informed lay person could learn from and at the same time see the feedback on said articles. And only the truly uninitiated takes initial findings as more than an intriguing possibility.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I do the nature of a peer reviewed journals. Perhaps, I more fair thing to say is that when you stake out your position as presenting the most cutting edge research papers you will end up publishing more things that are later dis-proven.

    That is, of course, the danger of all peer-reviewed journals. However, the benefit of said journals is that they do have articles at a level the well informed lay person could learn from and at the same time see the feedback on said articles. And only the truly uninitiated takes initial findings as more than an intriguing possibility.

  • WebMonk

    Way to totally get wrong just about everything I said Bror. You ought to be a science beat reporter for the NYT; you’d fit right in. I realize it was a long post, so I guess you get a bit of an excuse for that.

  • WebMonk

    Way to totally get wrong just about everything I said Bror. You ought to be a science beat reporter for the NYT; you’d fit right in. I realize it was a long post, so I guess you get a bit of an excuse for that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cranach: not so much the place for discussing science.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cranach: not so much the place for discussing science.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I see quotes from the speaker at Fermi that seem to say about what our gracious host does, and if any publication would have a decent science journalist, I’d have expected it to be the Times.

    So that said, if the reality is so much different than what Dr. Veith notes, then the scientist in me is going to say something very important; “In God we trust, all others must bring data.” What are the sources that demonstrate that the Times article is incorrect?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I see quotes from the speaker at Fermi that seem to say about what our gracious host does, and if any publication would have a decent science journalist, I’d have expected it to be the Times.

    So that said, if the reality is so much different than what Dr. Veith notes, then the scientist in me is going to say something very important; “In God we trust, all others must bring data.” What are the sources that demonstrate that the Times article is incorrect?

  • DonS

    nqb @ 16: your comment is very thoughtful, and correct on many levels.

    I understand the notion of defining science as excluding a study of the supernatural. SG states this well @ 13. However, our scientific community all too often does not simply exclude a STUDY of the supernatural, but rather excludes the POSSIBILITY of the supernatural. This is what I referenced above, in my comment @11. I believe most origin scientists today do not believe that God created the heaven and the earth. And their research is largely directed to an effort to debunk what they consider to be religious superstition and nonsense.

    Origin science would be a lot more successful and fulfilling if its purpose was to uncover the mysteries and wonders of the complex physical universe the Creator God made.

  • DonS

    nqb @ 16: your comment is very thoughtful, and correct on many levels.

    I understand the notion of defining science as excluding a study of the supernatural. SG states this well @ 13. However, our scientific community all too often does not simply exclude a STUDY of the supernatural, but rather excludes the POSSIBILITY of the supernatural. This is what I referenced above, in my comment @11. I believe most origin scientists today do not believe that God created the heaven and the earth. And their research is largely directed to an effort to debunk what they consider to be religious superstition and nonsense.

    Origin science would be a lot more successful and fulfilling if its purpose was to uncover the mysteries and wonders of the complex physical universe the Creator God made.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, from my perpective as a geologist, science “reporting” in my fields of expertise is abyssmal. Since this is the 30th anniversary of the big Mt St Helens eruption, I’m sort of expecting to re-educate some confused friends etc ;).

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, from my perpective as a geologist, science “reporting” in my fields of expertise is abyssmal. Since this is the 30th anniversary of the big Mt St Helens eruption, I’m sort of expecting to re-educate some confused friends etc ;).

  • Ryan

    Thanks for the replies about where to find information. Even if they were a bot contradictory :) Heres the problem I have – someone, on any blog, will post an article like the above. Immediately some will say – bad reporting, they don’t understand the science, its sensationalized! Fine, but I want to develop some discernment here, I have a broad interest and work like any average Joe – so no time for me to read all day on boards or in libraries – so again I ask where do I get informed, in this case on Science, as a normal average layperson?

    tODD, if this is not the best place to discuss science, where do you suggest for the average laymen?

  • Ryan

    Thanks for the replies about where to find information. Even if they were a bot contradictory :) Heres the problem I have – someone, on any blog, will post an article like the above. Immediately some will say – bad reporting, they don’t understand the science, its sensationalized! Fine, but I want to develop some discernment here, I have a broad interest and work like any average Joe – so no time for me to read all day on boards or in libraries – so again I ask where do I get informed, in this case on Science, as a normal average layperson?

    tODD, if this is not the best place to discuss science, where do you suggest for the average laymen?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, Webmonk is always saying that I shouldn’t blog anything about science because it is too complicated for me, a non-specialist, to understand. Then he tells me to read the specialized scientific journals, as if he thinks I could understand those! But, look, this is the New York Times that I’m quoting. We are told that the science reporter gets it all wrong. If that is the case, he indeed needs to be answered. So, please, Webmonk or Dr. Luther or someone with that expertise (Carl Vehse?), explain what it is the article gets wrong. That the Standard Theory predicts a symmetry between matter and anti-matter? The journalist quotes some physicists. Are they wrong too? Or is it that the statement that they would “annihilate” each other has some other technical meaning than that they would cease to exist? Go ahead and discuss the article. Don’t just say that I am not allowed to call attention to it.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, Webmonk is always saying that I shouldn’t blog anything about science because it is too complicated for me, a non-specialist, to understand. Then he tells me to read the specialized scientific journals, as if he thinks I could understand those! But, look, this is the New York Times that I’m quoting. We are told that the science reporter gets it all wrong. If that is the case, he indeed needs to be answered. So, please, Webmonk or Dr. Luther or someone with that expertise (Carl Vehse?), explain what it is the article gets wrong. That the Standard Theory predicts a symmetry between matter and anti-matter? The journalist quotes some physicists. Are they wrong too? Or is it that the statement that they would “annihilate” each other has some other technical meaning than that they would cease to exist? Go ahead and discuss the article. Don’t just say that I am not allowed to call attention to it.

  • nqb

    Dr. Veith, I’ll give explaining the article a go. I am by no means a subatomic (or high-energy) physicist, but I do have my B.S. in physics and recently took a subatomic physics course.

    The article says, “In a mathematically perfect universe . . . equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other[.]” “Mathematically perfect” here is code for “mathematically simple.” The original equation that predicted anti-particles (the Dirac equation) is perfectly balanced between matter and antimatter: the masses should be the same, the charges should be the same magnitude, etc. And when the energy in the Big Bang “condensed” into matter, equal amounts should have been created of both. This balance would allow the matter and antimatter to annihilate (this is the correct term and basically means “combine to form pure energy”), but apparently the universe is not pure energy (i.e., there is matter) so an imbalance exists.

    To say that scientists are completely baffled by this imbalance is an exaggeration. The universe is messy and mathematically not simple. I suppose the first problem scientists would have with your presentation, Dr. Veith, is that they would say “scientifically, everything (that exists) should exist” because science is rooted in observation. (A theory we cannot observe is tough to justify.)

    No one thinks that the Standard Model is perfect, but it is very good. And the model is being expanded and molded to explain the observed universe. These results from Fermilab have not caught physicists by surprise: Instead, physicists are pleased that these results further confirm ideas about Charge-Parity (CP) violation. CP-conservation is a mathematical rule that says all physical processes should be exactly the same if space is inverted (x,y,z)->(-x,-y,-z) and particles are swapped for antiparticles. But if specific CP-violations occured in the extreme conditions of the Big Bang, voila, matter-antimatter imbalance.

  • nqb

    Dr. Veith, I’ll give explaining the article a go. I am by no means a subatomic (or high-energy) physicist, but I do have my B.S. in physics and recently took a subatomic physics course.

    The article says, “In a mathematically perfect universe . . . equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other[.]” “Mathematically perfect” here is code for “mathematically simple.” The original equation that predicted anti-particles (the Dirac equation) is perfectly balanced between matter and antimatter: the masses should be the same, the charges should be the same magnitude, etc. And when the energy in the Big Bang “condensed” into matter, equal amounts should have been created of both. This balance would allow the matter and antimatter to annihilate (this is the correct term and basically means “combine to form pure energy”), but apparently the universe is not pure energy (i.e., there is matter) so an imbalance exists.

    To say that scientists are completely baffled by this imbalance is an exaggeration. The universe is messy and mathematically not simple. I suppose the first problem scientists would have with your presentation, Dr. Veith, is that they would say “scientifically, everything (that exists) should exist” because science is rooted in observation. (A theory we cannot observe is tough to justify.)

    No one thinks that the Standard Model is perfect, but it is very good. And the model is being expanded and molded to explain the observed universe. These results from Fermilab have not caught physicists by surprise: Instead, physicists are pleased that these results further confirm ideas about Charge-Parity (CP) violation. CP-conservation is a mathematical rule that says all physical processes should be exactly the same if space is inverted (x,y,z)->(-x,-y,-z) and particles are swapped for antiparticles. But if specific CP-violations occured in the extreme conditions of the Big Bang, voila, matter-antimatter imbalance.

  • BT

    WebMonk says, “If you keep asking “why” often enough about any question (such as why electrons are negatively charged and why positrons are positively charged) and continue asking down far enough into the really obscure details of subatomic physics, then sure, there are lots of things that we don’t know yet and we don’t know the answer as to why that property is the way it is.”
    ———-
    But isn’t that the whole point of the article; e.g. science alone cannot (and will not) ever be able to explain the origin of the universe … that’s left to the science of ‘religion’ and presupposition. Scientists may do a good job explaining and discovering things about the universe they live in, but guess what, many have to be reminded that they are not the gods they sometime pretend to be (believing they can explain “ex nihilo nihifit”). They may be able ‘to count’ very well but will never be able to ‘give an account’ of why the universe, logic, morality, numbers, etc., exists or can exist without God. Even Eienstein recognized this ‘fact’ (or limitation) when he acknowledged that it wasn’t how much about the universe he could know that was amazing, but that he could know ‘anything at all’ about the universe. That is much more profound and honest both philosophically and scientifically.

    But there doesn’t seem to exist that same kind of humility in the science community today. For a great many scientists today, anything BUT God is an explanation for the universe and so they go on believing THEY will know ‘if given enough time’ everything or the more humble will say at least 99.9 % — kind of like the hypothesis on evolution – been 150 yrs – still no missing link, but it’s coming I’m sure of it! I have faith.

    Somehow Time is given the ability to solve the great mysteries in science (of course we are not even sure what time is, e.g. is time a thing, a being, is it real or a mere perception – guess it depends on if you are David Hume or King David). Time and Chance do not have being, they are ‘no thing’ (e.g. nothing). So what is time going to give us? And How does something come from nothing, material from immaterial, living from non-living, personality from the non-personal, and on and on. Why don’t you list these obscure minor subatomic questions of life in your reference above? Do they embarrass science? Are they “too big for science maybe”? Those answers will not be found in any science separated from God the Creat0r, not ever, not even given an eternity. That’s why science (with all it’s theories that do not allow God in the classroom) looks so silly or foolish at times.

    Now Webmonk, go ahead and prove my point……. I know you must have the answer or a defense using the holy grail of science …. one more quote from your post, “As to explaining what all ‘the facts really are in this area, give me a couple hundred pages and a year or two to get all the up-to-date facts’ (quotes mine) , and I’ll write it down for you. The issue involves supersymmetries and the differing properties of symmetric pairs in the Standard Model.” end quote

    And not to sound mean spirited or anything, but that sounds like Puff the Magic Dragon (e.g. and your comments in this area are already riddled with many presuppositions about many things related to these questions )…. careful we don’t let science become an idol.

    Peace.

  • BT

    WebMonk says, “If you keep asking “why” often enough about any question (such as why electrons are negatively charged and why positrons are positively charged) and continue asking down far enough into the really obscure details of subatomic physics, then sure, there are lots of things that we don’t know yet and we don’t know the answer as to why that property is the way it is.”
    ———-
    But isn’t that the whole point of the article; e.g. science alone cannot (and will not) ever be able to explain the origin of the universe … that’s left to the science of ‘religion’ and presupposition. Scientists may do a good job explaining and discovering things about the universe they live in, but guess what, many have to be reminded that they are not the gods they sometime pretend to be (believing they can explain “ex nihilo nihifit”). They may be able ‘to count’ very well but will never be able to ‘give an account’ of why the universe, logic, morality, numbers, etc., exists or can exist without God. Even Eienstein recognized this ‘fact’ (or limitation) when he acknowledged that it wasn’t how much about the universe he could know that was amazing, but that he could know ‘anything at all’ about the universe. That is much more profound and honest both philosophically and scientifically.

    But there doesn’t seem to exist that same kind of humility in the science community today. For a great many scientists today, anything BUT God is an explanation for the universe and so they go on believing THEY will know ‘if given enough time’ everything or the more humble will say at least 99.9 % — kind of like the hypothesis on evolution – been 150 yrs – still no missing link, but it’s coming I’m sure of it! I have faith.

    Somehow Time is given the ability to solve the great mysteries in science (of course we are not even sure what time is, e.g. is time a thing, a being, is it real or a mere perception – guess it depends on if you are David Hume or King David). Time and Chance do not have being, they are ‘no thing’ (e.g. nothing). So what is time going to give us? And How does something come from nothing, material from immaterial, living from non-living, personality from the non-personal, and on and on. Why don’t you list these obscure minor subatomic questions of life in your reference above? Do they embarrass science? Are they “too big for science maybe”? Those answers will not be found in any science separated from God the Creat0r, not ever, not even given an eternity. That’s why science (with all it’s theories that do not allow God in the classroom) looks so silly or foolish at times.

    Now Webmonk, go ahead and prove my point……. I know you must have the answer or a defense using the holy grail of science …. one more quote from your post, “As to explaining what all ‘the facts really are in this area, give me a couple hundred pages and a year or two to get all the up-to-date facts’ (quotes mine) , and I’ll write it down for you. The issue involves supersymmetries and the differing properties of symmetric pairs in the Standard Model.” end quote

    And not to sound mean spirited or anything, but that sounds like Puff the Magic Dragon (e.g. and your comments in this area are already riddled with many presuppositions about many things related to these questions )…. careful we don’t let science become an idol.

    Peace.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    Scientific theories have no basis to truly explain reality. To do so is a logical fallacy ‘cum hoc ergo propter hoc’.

    Scientific theories allow predictions and observed relationships but truth is a non-scientific concept. Netwon’s theories predicted well enough until our observations became more precise. Scientific models no matter how trustworthy can always end up as misleading approximations that fall apart when more precise measurements are made.

    How scientific theories correspond to reality isn’t a scientific question. It is a philosophical one.

    There is a lot of arrogance needed to suggest scientists ‘know’ reality. They know reality in the sense that they have models that aid in predictions. Showing those models to be true is beyond the limits of science.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    Scientific theories have no basis to truly explain reality. To do so is a logical fallacy ‘cum hoc ergo propter hoc’.

    Scientific theories allow predictions and observed relationships but truth is a non-scientific concept. Netwon’s theories predicted well enough until our observations became more precise. Scientific models no matter how trustworthy can always end up as misleading approximations that fall apart when more precise measurements are made.

    How scientific theories correspond to reality isn’t a scientific question. It is a philosophical one.

    There is a lot of arrogance needed to suggest scientists ‘know’ reality. They know reality in the sense that they have models that aid in predictions. Showing those models to be true is beyond the limits of science.

  • WebMonk

    By all means discuss it, Dr. Veith, just don’t believe what you read in those places. That’s the primary point I’m trying to get across in my ramblings and rants about science reporters.

    tbq explained it well. Terms like “mathematically balanced” and “supersymmetry” get grabbed, misunderstood, and misapplied. In a simplistic view of the world, sure, lots and lots of ridiculous conundrums will pop up, like the imbalance between matter and anti-matter. But scientists don’t treat the world in that simplistic way and the real-life understanding of the “complications” in the universe DO NOT suggest the world should have annihilated itself. This science reporter is suggesting that scientists are bound to a simplistic model of the universe – they aren’t!

    That’s where a lot of the misunderstandings come into play. If a scientist says something along the lines of “The basic Standard Model can’t predict some particles.” Chances are good he will be quoted leaving out the word “basic” or most readers won’t glom onto that term and all that lies behind it – scientists don’t use a “basic” Standard Model. The modern Standard Model is complicated, and there are parts around the edges where it is unclear or even unknown, but what will everyone pull out of that little quote? Ahhh!!!! Scientists rely on the Standard Model and it is a failure!! It can’t predict something!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!

    Grumble, grumble, grumble.

    As to BT – you are asking hugely different questions than what scientists are trying to answer, so of course scientists aren’t going to come up with answers that satisfy your questions. “Why” can be asked about a lot of things and even in different ways. You’re asking “why” about things and in ways that scientists aren’t trying to deal with, and it’s very possible that scientists are fundamentally incapable of answering SOME of those deep “why” questions.

    Chances are good though that some of those will be answers by scientists. Of course, at that point you can always ask “why” again to that answer, and so the process will continue. The whys will never end, and so of course scientists can’t possible answer every “why” questions that can ever be asked. Does that mean we should just brush off every discovery of scientists as not useful or valid, and should latch onto every unanswered “why” as proof that science is fundamentally invalid?

    If you want, you can do that.

  • WebMonk

    By all means discuss it, Dr. Veith, just don’t believe what you read in those places. That’s the primary point I’m trying to get across in my ramblings and rants about science reporters.

    tbq explained it well. Terms like “mathematically balanced” and “supersymmetry” get grabbed, misunderstood, and misapplied. In a simplistic view of the world, sure, lots and lots of ridiculous conundrums will pop up, like the imbalance between matter and anti-matter. But scientists don’t treat the world in that simplistic way and the real-life understanding of the “complications” in the universe DO NOT suggest the world should have annihilated itself. This science reporter is suggesting that scientists are bound to a simplistic model of the universe – they aren’t!

    That’s where a lot of the misunderstandings come into play. If a scientist says something along the lines of “The basic Standard Model can’t predict some particles.” Chances are good he will be quoted leaving out the word “basic” or most readers won’t glom onto that term and all that lies behind it – scientists don’t use a “basic” Standard Model. The modern Standard Model is complicated, and there are parts around the edges where it is unclear or even unknown, but what will everyone pull out of that little quote? Ahhh!!!! Scientists rely on the Standard Model and it is a failure!! It can’t predict something!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!

    Grumble, grumble, grumble.

    As to BT – you are asking hugely different questions than what scientists are trying to answer, so of course scientists aren’t going to come up with answers that satisfy your questions. “Why” can be asked about a lot of things and even in different ways. You’re asking “why” about things and in ways that scientists aren’t trying to deal with, and it’s very possible that scientists are fundamentally incapable of answering SOME of those deep “why” questions.

    Chances are good though that some of those will be answers by scientists. Of course, at that point you can always ask “why” again to that answer, and so the process will continue. The whys will never end, and so of course scientists can’t possible answer every “why” questions that can ever be asked. Does that mean we should just brush off every discovery of scientists as not useful or valid, and should latch onto every unanswered “why” as proof that science is fundamentally invalid?

    If you want, you can do that.

  • WebMonk

    My original point may have gotten lost.

    The scientists have found some new things and are looking forward to having some questions answered. (they are not wondering why the universe didn’t self-annihilate)

    The reporter wrote his article and made some faulty statements.

    What did Dr. Veith pull from it? Look at the title.

    That title is nearly as far from what the scientists said as is possible.

    That series of misunderstandings is what I’m complaining about.

    Has anyone ever done a little game with a large group of people? The first person whispers some sentence to the person next to him. That person whispers it to the next person. By the time it gets to the last person it will be completely different than what it started out.

    That’s sort of what has happened here. Because it’s a big, complicated subject it doesn’t take nearly as many steps for the message to become garbled, but that’s what happens.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to science reporting, everyone needs to be aware of this tendency and take whatever the reporter writes with a grain, nay a truckload, of salt.

  • WebMonk

    My original point may have gotten lost.

    The scientists have found some new things and are looking forward to having some questions answered. (they are not wondering why the universe didn’t self-annihilate)

    The reporter wrote his article and made some faulty statements.

    What did Dr. Veith pull from it? Look at the title.

    That title is nearly as far from what the scientists said as is possible.

    That series of misunderstandings is what I’m complaining about.

    Has anyone ever done a little game with a large group of people? The first person whispers some sentence to the person next to him. That person whispers it to the next person. By the time it gets to the last person it will be completely different than what it started out.

    That’s sort of what has happened here. Because it’s a big, complicated subject it doesn’t take nearly as many steps for the message to become garbled, but that’s what happens.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to science reporting, everyone needs to be aware of this tendency and take whatever the reporter writes with a grain, nay a truckload, of salt.

  • Kyle

    Very interesting thread here.

    I am a confessional Lutheran, and a particle physicist. Well, I’m actually about to receive my doctorate in particle physics from the University of Notre Dame in a couple months, so I suppose then I’ll be able to call myself a particle physics. If any of you think I’m pulling your leg, I can provide a CV upon request.

    Explaining science to the general public has always been difficult, and it will continue to get more difficult as the science gets more sophisticated. But nqb’s post (#26) does the best job of explaining what the current state of affairs is in particle physics.

    Unfortunately, what I write below will be horribly incomplete. My pastor pointing me to this thread, so I thought I should make a comment. But I really need to be working on my thesis! =)

    The article has to do with CP violation, which nqb explains well, at least as well as is appropriate for this forum. Webmonk alludes to supersymmetry–this article is NOT about supersymmetry. It may very well be that supersymmetry can describe why anomalous CP violation occurs, which the DZero collaboration discovered in their article. But supersymmetry itself is an unconfirmed theory which may or may not hold true (indirect searches for it have yielded null results thus far; direct searches at the LHC may give more positive results).

    I think Dr. Veith’s take on the article is just fine. It is true that based on quantum field theory, we shouldn’t be here. But there are a set of conditions (Sakharov conditions) that, if fulfilled, would yield the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe which we observe now. One of those conditions is CP violation, which has been measured very extensively in the quark sector of particle physics. But it’s not large enough to account for the CP violation necessary according to the Sakharov conditions. It’s possible that CP violation also exists in the neutrino sector, but that is MUCH, MUCH harder to measure, and in fact, may not be measurable for a few more decades.

    So a few conclusions:

    - There is a matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. If everything came from a big bang, this shouldn’t be possible unless the Sakharov conditions are fulfilled.

    - The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a very, very good theory, confirmed by many experiments…but it doesn’t explain everything. So instead of saying that the standard theory of physics is incorrect (as Veith said in his original post), I’d say it’s simply incomplete.

    - Science will never be able to explain everything. Eventually one gets to a first cause, which is inexplicable according to science. And Veith is right: even if one understands fundamental interactions at the quark level, this is a far cry from explaining how life works.

  • Kyle

    Very interesting thread here.

    I am a confessional Lutheran, and a particle physicist. Well, I’m actually about to receive my doctorate in particle physics from the University of Notre Dame in a couple months, so I suppose then I’ll be able to call myself a particle physics. If any of you think I’m pulling your leg, I can provide a CV upon request.

    Explaining science to the general public has always been difficult, and it will continue to get more difficult as the science gets more sophisticated. But nqb’s post (#26) does the best job of explaining what the current state of affairs is in particle physics.

    Unfortunately, what I write below will be horribly incomplete. My pastor pointing me to this thread, so I thought I should make a comment. But I really need to be working on my thesis! =)

    The article has to do with CP violation, which nqb explains well, at least as well as is appropriate for this forum. Webmonk alludes to supersymmetry–this article is NOT about supersymmetry. It may very well be that supersymmetry can describe why anomalous CP violation occurs, which the DZero collaboration discovered in their article. But supersymmetry itself is an unconfirmed theory which may or may not hold true (indirect searches for it have yielded null results thus far; direct searches at the LHC may give more positive results).

    I think Dr. Veith’s take on the article is just fine. It is true that based on quantum field theory, we shouldn’t be here. But there are a set of conditions (Sakharov conditions) that, if fulfilled, would yield the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe which we observe now. One of those conditions is CP violation, which has been measured very extensively in the quark sector of particle physics. But it’s not large enough to account for the CP violation necessary according to the Sakharov conditions. It’s possible that CP violation also exists in the neutrino sector, but that is MUCH, MUCH harder to measure, and in fact, may not be measurable for a few more decades.

    So a few conclusions:

    - There is a matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. If everything came from a big bang, this shouldn’t be possible unless the Sakharov conditions are fulfilled.

    - The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a very, very good theory, confirmed by many experiments…but it doesn’t explain everything. So instead of saying that the standard theory of physics is incorrect (as Veith said in his original post), I’d say it’s simply incomplete.

    - Science will never be able to explain everything. Eventually one gets to a first cause, which is inexplicable according to science. And Veith is right: even if one understands fundamental interactions at the quark level, this is a far cry from explaining how life works.

  • BT

    WebMonk says “Does that mean we should just brush off every discovery of scientists as not useful or valid, and should latch onto every unanswered “why” as proof that science is fundamentally invalid?”
    ====
    Of course not (ie., straw man). In fact, I stated above “Scientists may do a good job explaining and discovering things about the universe they live in…” My comments are more along this line (if I may quote the great Clint Eastwood), “A good man always knows his limitations”.

    Scientists need to admit that the ‘ultimate questions’ are outside their arena, particularly if science is only to include the scientific method as a way of discovery. I close with a quote from one founding father and hero of science and physics, Sir Newton (too bad science has drifted so far from what he perceived to be the only foundation for science itself or the universe). I quote,

    “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done… This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. [...] This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” παντοκρατωρ [pantokratōr], or “Universal Ruler”. [...] The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, [and] absolutely perfect…. Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”

    How far we have drifted… If you don’t believe this is a problem in the science community rent Dr. Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’ – a good documentary on the explosion of God from the classroom.

    Peace.

  • BT

    WebMonk says “Does that mean we should just brush off every discovery of scientists as not useful or valid, and should latch onto every unanswered “why” as proof that science is fundamentally invalid?”
    ====
    Of course not (ie., straw man). In fact, I stated above “Scientists may do a good job explaining and discovering things about the universe they live in…” My comments are more along this line (if I may quote the great Clint Eastwood), “A good man always knows his limitations”.

    Scientists need to admit that the ‘ultimate questions’ are outside their arena, particularly if science is only to include the scientific method as a way of discovery. I close with a quote from one founding father and hero of science and physics, Sir Newton (too bad science has drifted so far from what he perceived to be the only foundation for science itself or the universe). I quote,

    “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done… This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. [...] This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” παντοκρατωρ [pantokratōr], or “Universal Ruler”. [...] The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, [and] absolutely perfect…. Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”

    How far we have drifted… If you don’t believe this is a problem in the science community rent Dr. Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’ – a good documentary on the explosion of God from the classroom.

    Peace.

  • sg

    FYI, The Medical Hypotheses Journal editor Bruce Charlton was ousted by the PC police. Basically, it was not a peer reviewed journal, so the editor could allow dissenting views. This was not well tolerated by the “scientific peers”. Anyway, those interested can read what Bruce Charlton has to say at his blog by the same name, Medical Hypotheses.

    http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com/

  • sg

    FYI, The Medical Hypotheses Journal editor Bruce Charlton was ousted by the PC police. Basically, it was not a peer reviewed journal, so the editor could allow dissenting views. This was not well tolerated by the “scientific peers”. Anyway, those interested can read what Bruce Charlton has to say at his blog by the same name, Medical Hypotheses.

    http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com/

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  • BT

    A summary ‘observation’ on several comments above.

    I find the struggle in those who want to be “true to science” while at the same time not deny God “His place” in the universe to fall into the Kantian error of believing that faith and reason are 2 totally separate entities that exists in two totally different spheres (noumena vs. phenomena). An example @16-nqb; ” I do not agree that deliberately excluding God from “origins science” is a fundamental problem (though deliberately excluding God from our lives is terrible.)”.

    This is a gross compartmentalization of God from His own universe. This appears as a child sitting in his father’s lap slapping Him in the face. Yet without Him even our rejection is impossible. In other words, science alone cannot account for itself; no more than it can logic, numbers, predication, or a knowable universe, and so on. So how can we have God in our lives but not in our science! I understand that Time magazine has a section for science, a section for politics, a section for international affairs, one for religion and so on. Should we really subscribe, as Believers, that God allows for that type of compartmentalization in our intellect? E.g. God is good for our lives and morality but He must wait on the so-called neutrality of my theories until I release him “out of the dock” into existence through my science?

    Again, I’m glad scientists tend to be logical despite themselves but that will not allow me to let them off the hook as to how logic, numbers, induction, predication, etc., can work and be known without at least an elementary reason for why I should believe they are real. None of these immaterial realities have been “observed” or proven on there own terms. But a personal God who lives in eternity, time and space at least makes them possible. Why the rebellion?

    Autonomy or Lordship are our options folks. God IS “clearly revealed” and in the data everywhere ! (cf. Rom.1:18-25). When we truly “discover” the universe we are only thinking God’s thoughts after Him (again, this is right from Sir Newton, so I’m not just “being religious” unless you want to cast off one of the fathers of science).

  • BT

    A summary ‘observation’ on several comments above.

    I find the struggle in those who want to be “true to science” while at the same time not deny God “His place” in the universe to fall into the Kantian error of believing that faith and reason are 2 totally separate entities that exists in two totally different spheres (noumena vs. phenomena). An example @16-nqb; ” I do not agree that deliberately excluding God from “origins science” is a fundamental problem (though deliberately excluding God from our lives is terrible.)”.

    This is a gross compartmentalization of God from His own universe. This appears as a child sitting in his father’s lap slapping Him in the face. Yet without Him even our rejection is impossible. In other words, science alone cannot account for itself; no more than it can logic, numbers, predication, or a knowable universe, and so on. So how can we have God in our lives but not in our science! I understand that Time magazine has a section for science, a section for politics, a section for international affairs, one for religion and so on. Should we really subscribe, as Believers, that God allows for that type of compartmentalization in our intellect? E.g. God is good for our lives and morality but He must wait on the so-called neutrality of my theories until I release him “out of the dock” into existence through my science?

    Again, I’m glad scientists tend to be logical despite themselves but that will not allow me to let them off the hook as to how logic, numbers, induction, predication, etc., can work and be known without at least an elementary reason for why I should believe they are real. None of these immaterial realities have been “observed” or proven on there own terms. But a personal God who lives in eternity, time and space at least makes them possible. Why the rebellion?

    Autonomy or Lordship are our options folks. God IS “clearly revealed” and in the data everywhere ! (cf. Rom.1:18-25). When we truly “discover” the universe we are only thinking God’s thoughts after Him (again, this is right from Sir Newton, so I’m not just “being religious” unless you want to cast off one of the fathers of science).

  • MarkO

    I thot it was Kepler who said that neat line about “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” ? ? ?

  • MarkO

    I thot it was Kepler who said that neat line about “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” ? ? ?

  • WebMonk

    Thanks Kyle, I only play a particle physicist on TV! Cool to meet a real one! (actually I play an astronomer, but we get to dabble occasionally in the particle side of things)

    I wasn’t intending to say this article was about supersymmetry, but just using that theory as an example of commonly misunderstood concepts.

    Nicely stated about the incompleteness of something does not mean something is wrong or failed. And you’re a bolder man than I to jump into Sakharov and CP violations! I’ve read a paper by him on gravity and quantum fluctuation, but didn’t delve into any of his heavier stuff until I tried a paper on CP violation and asymmetry. Whew!

  • WebMonk

    Thanks Kyle, I only play a particle physicist on TV! Cool to meet a real one! (actually I play an astronomer, but we get to dabble occasionally in the particle side of things)

    I wasn’t intending to say this article was about supersymmetry, but just using that theory as an example of commonly misunderstood concepts.

    Nicely stated about the incompleteness of something does not mean something is wrong or failed. And you’re a bolder man than I to jump into Sakharov and CP violations! I’ve read a paper by him on gravity and quantum fluctuation, but didn’t delve into any of his heavier stuff until I tried a paper on CP violation and asymmetry. Whew!

  • BT

    MArko,

    Correct! Kepler gets the most credit of origin ! thanks (of course, many others have borrowed the phrase since his time). It has always been amazing to me how many of these classical scientist had a very different vision about science over what we have today. Newton’s ‘Principia’ (was written according to him) to ‘persuade thinking men to believe in a deity’.

    *Another applicable phrase that often gets tossed about as attributed to Anslem appears to have a earlier origin also (in Augustine).

    St. Augustine (4th cent), “I believe in order to understand” (credo ut intelligam). St. Anselm (11th cent), echoed: “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

    Grace.

  • BT

    MArko,

    Correct! Kepler gets the most credit of origin ! thanks (of course, many others have borrowed the phrase since his time). It has always been amazing to me how many of these classical scientist had a very different vision about science over what we have today. Newton’s ‘Principia’ (was written according to him) to ‘persuade thinking men to believe in a deity’.

    *Another applicable phrase that often gets tossed about as attributed to Anslem appears to have a earlier origin also (in Augustine).

    St. Augustine (4th cent), “I believe in order to understand” (credo ut intelligam). St. Anselm (11th cent), echoed: “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

    Grace.


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